John Oliver used the season finale of “Last Week Tonight” to highlight the techniques President Donald Trump regularly uses to undermine established norms of how a leader should govern.
Oliver highlighted three techniques Sunday that the president consistently relies on. One technique Trump uses is delegitimizing the media.
“He is openly proud of it,” Oliver said, adding that Trump even tried to take credit for creating the term “fake news.”
“He just took credit for inventing the term ‘fake news,’ which, for the record, he did not, meaning what he just said was fake fake-news news,” Oliver quipped.
Another technique is “whataboutism.”
“Trump does this all the time, most famously when he was asked why he hadn’t forcefully condemned the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville,” Oliver said before playing a news clip of Trump saying, “What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?”
“A Nazi killing someone with a car is so heinous, any other issues that might be up for debate, under any other circumstances, kind of have to wait their turn,” Oliver said.
“If you’re wearing Crocs with socks…if you’re using those socked Crocs to kick Hitler in the balls, do you know what, I’m suddenly not so focused on the f*cking footwear,” he explained.
“Now this technique of saying ‘what about?’ is actually an old Soviet propaganda tool,” he continued. “The reason it is dangerous is because it implies that all actions, regardless of context, share a moral equivalency—and since nobody is perfect, all criticism is hypocritical and everybody should do whatever they want.”
“The problem with whataboutism is it doesn’t solve a problem or win an argument,” he added. “The point is just to muddy the waters, which can make the other side mad.”
The third technique is straight up trolling.
“Trump may be the first-ever troll to be elected president,” Oliver said. “As a troll, Trump often does things that have no effect other than to piss off his perceived enemies,” he explained, before showing a GIF Trump tweeted of him wrestling CNN.
Trump bragged on Twitter that being called the “most superior troll” is a “great compliment.”
It’s not a great compliment, Oliver said. “Sometimes, when you do something that makes a lot of people mad, it’s because you’re a dick.”
Oliver highlighted further proof by pointing to an interview in which Trump was pressed about his claims that President Obama wiretapped him.
Asked if he still stands by the claim, Trump replied, “I don’t stand by anything…you can take it the way you want.”
Oliver said that was “the most frighteningly nihilistic sentence a president can say.”
He explained that these techniques are then amplified and used by others and seeing how it spreads under Trump shows we are already “seriously and lastingly f*cked.”
“It’s so important to train ourselves to identify these techniques because their natural endpoint is the erosion of our ability to decide what’s important, have an honest debate and hold one another accountable,” Oliver concluded.
Watch the clip below: